Q
Evaluate Weigh the pros and cons of technologies, products and projects you are considering.

Can the PORTAL travel router improve traffic security?

A pocket-sized travel router can reportedly keep Internet traffic secure. Is it too good to be true? Expert Kevin Beaver discusses.

A presentation at Def Con this year on an inexpensive, pocket-sized "travel router" piqued my interest; it can...

reportedly conceal Internet traffic on the go. How does it work? And how does it differ from routers that use Tor? Will this ever be viable in an enterprise scenario with on-the-go workers?

Being a lover of freedom, I'm always interested in tools that keep a person's every move out of sight of government spies. This tool, dubbed "PORTAL" (which stands for Personal Onion Router To Assure Liberty), is an always-on Tor device. It uses existing Internet connections, but takes the user out of the equation by applying "onion router" protection to all traffic to and from the user's computer without the user having to remember to load a Tor browser and enable protective measures.

As far as anonymity is concerned, PORTAL can be more private than a VPN and is most certainly better than relying on SSL/TLS to protect your organization's network communications. Both of these technologies provide a false sense of privacy and security in that metadata -- such as the protocols and whom you're communicating with -- are in plain sight, not to mention any associated logs that record communications that are forever stamped in history.

So is PORTAL viable for the enterprise? Probably not -- at least for most situations. In today's world, we have enough trouble getting proven technologies such as antimalware and security information and event management working at the enterprise level, so I can't imagine something such as PORTAL is going to scale at this point, especially since it's not even available as its own standalone hardware device; right now, PORTAL is  just software that you build into your own system.

However, I have faith in the security entrepreneurs out there -- someone will come up with a solution for the lay-person problem shortly. Perhaps then -- in a few years -- PORTAL will be enterprise-worthy.

Ask the Expert!
SearchSecurity expert Kevin Beaver is ready to answer your application security questions -- submit them now! (All questions are anonymous.)

Next Steps

Get more router security tips

Learn 10 quick router security hints

This was last published in January 2015

Dig Deeper on Network device security: Appliances, firewalls and switches

PRO+

Content

Find more PRO+ content and other member only offers, here.

Have a question for an expert?

Please add a title for your question

Get answers from a TechTarget expert on whatever's puzzling you.

You will be able to add details on the next page.

Join the conversation

2 comments

Send me notifications when other members comment.

By submitting you agree to receive email from TechTarget and its partners. If you reside outside of the United States, you consent to having your personal data transferred to and processed in the United States. Privacy

Please create a username to comment.

Would your organization ever use the PORTAL travel router?
Cancel
Hi,

We actually supply commercial solutions which obfuscate the MAC address of a corporate device - an Android smartphone which connects to both Wi-Fi, allows captive portal remediation and shares that connection over a separate, WPA2 protected Wi-Fi network.

We use software to randomise the Android smartphones MAC address to prevent this being black-listed etc.

Our Windows tablet solution creates it's own TLS VPN through which your corporate VPN (IPSEC, TCP, UDP, SSL etc.) can communicate - this overcomes VPN 'unfriendly' networks.


Cancel

-ADS BY GOOGLE

SearchCloudSecurity

SearchNetworking

SearchCIO

SearchEnterpriseDesktop

SearchCloudComputing

ComputerWeekly.com

Close